Four Highlight 2008 USTFCCCA Division II Men’s All-Academic Track and Field Team

By Keith Nunez, USTFCCCA

July 14, 2008   

NEW ORLEANS – At the end of the track and field season, it’s easy to see which competitors had great seasons on the track and on the field. What is not so apparent from the stands is which competitors also achieve greatness in the classroom, a balancing act at the heart of the term “student-athlete.” Four Division II student-athletes who know just how to achieve that balance of athletic and academic performance are Aaron Braun (Adams State), Camille Vandendriessche (Abilene Christian), Chris Cummings (Mansfield), and Matt Gersick (Adams State), as the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced Monday the Men’s 2008 Division II Indoor and Outdoor Scholar Athletes of the Year.

OUTDOOR TRACK AND FIELD

Aaron Braun, a junior from Fort Collins, Co., has been named the 2008 Division II Outdoor Track Scholar Athlete of the Year. Braun’s season was highlighted by a win in the 1500m at the 2008 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships in May. He is also the 2008 USTFCCCA North Central Region Men’s Track Athlete of the Year.

In the classroom, the math education major has been equally successfully. Over the course of his studies at Adams State, Braun has compiled a 3.75 GPA, and he plans to pursue a career as a math teacher and coach.

“Aaron is the definition of what a student-athlete should be. He is an incredible leader and role-model for the team, both in the classroom and on the track,” said Adams State head coach Damon Martin.

The 2008 Division II Outdoor Field Scholar Athlete of the Year is Camille Vandendriessche of Abilene Christian. The senior from Paris, France won the 2008 NCAA Division II title in the decathlon, his second NCAA title in the event (2006). Majoring in journalism, Vandendriessche earned a cumulative GPA of 3.31 in his studies at Abilene Christian.

“Camille is the epitome of what a student-athlete should be. He is a coach’s dream. His work ethic and pursuit of excellence carries over into every aspect of his life,” said Wildcats head coach Don D. Hood. “It is a privilege to be able to work with a young man of his caliber. He is a great student, competitor, and person – exactly what we hope will be representative of Abilene Christian.”

INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD

Mansfield’s Chris Cummings is the 2008 Division II Indoor Track Scholar Athlete of the Year after finishing second in the mile at the 2008 NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships in March and helping Mansfield’s DMR to a ninth place finish at the meet. Cummings also finished fifth this year at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships in the 1500m to earn All-American honors.

The graduate student and Mansfield native is studying education, with a stunning 3.95 GPA. Cummings has also served as Co-President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee at Mansfield.

After an excellent indoor season that culminated in two All-American finishes at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships, Matt Gersick of Adams State has been named the 2008 Division II Indoor Field Scholar Athlete of the Year. Gersick finished second in the weight throw and fourth in the shot put at the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships in March.

Gersick, a junior from Pueblo West, Co., is a Human Performance and Physical Education major at Adams State, maintaining a stellar 3.86 GPA.

“Many people don’t know that Matt had to overcome a severe knee injury that threatened his overall health. Despite that setback, which ended his football career, Matt has shined as an athlete and a student, a true testament to his character and his academic and athletic talents,” said Grizzlies head coach Damon Martin.

DIVISION II ALL-ACADEMIC TRACK AND FIELD TEAM

In addition to the Scholar Athletes of the Year, the USTFCCCA also announced the men’s 2008 Division II All-Academic Track and Field team. A total of 108 student-athletes representing 44 Division II institutions made up the men’s 2008 All-Academic team.

Ashland led all institutions with eight student-athletes on the All-Academic team, followed closely by Grand Valley State (seven student-athletes) and Adams State (six student-athletes).

The USTFCCCA honors Division II individuals for their academic and athletic achievements during the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons.

To qualify for the USTFCCCA All-Academic Track and Field Team, the student-athlete must have compiled a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 and have met the NCAA Division II Indoor or Outdoor automatic or provisional qualifying standard in their respective event.

The 2008 USTFCCCA Division II Men’s All-Academic Track and Field Team

Name Institution
Landon Ehlers Abilene Christian University
Julius Nyango Abilene Christian University
Camille Vandendriessche Abilene Christian University
Aaron Braun Adams State College
Reuben Chebon-Mwei Adams State College
Roy Collins Adams State College
Matt Gersick Adams State College
Josh Streeter Adams State College
John Ybarra Adams State College
Wade Goode Angelo State University
Brian Holik Angelo State University
Raymond Orlando Angelo State University
Anthony Beggrow Ashland University
Nick Bellanco Ashland University
Max Hiltner Ashland University
Joe Horn Ashland University
Mike Jeffery Ashland University
Brian Mozena Ashland University
Brian Ryman Ashland University
Dan Tierney Ashland University
Zach Preble Bemidji State University
Bradley Rager California University of Pennsylvania
Tyler Fischer Central Washington University
Mike Aimone Chadron State College
Jacob Gruver Chadron State College
Brandon Harrington Chadron State College
Joe Schultz Chadron State College
Mike Smith Chadron State College
Dustin Greenwood Concord University
Drew Miller East Stroudsburg University
Paul Wagner East Stroudsburg University
Ben Hahn Edinboro University
David Niemira Edinboro University
Skyler Delmott Emporia State University
David Czerny Ferris State University
Rocky Baalmann Fort Hays State University
Kyle Jilka Fort Hays State University
Aaron Pablo Fort Hays State University
Curtis Barclay Grand Valley State University
Grant Fall Grand Valley State University
Chris Hammer Grand Valley State University
Garron Lucius Grand Valley State University
Bill Makela Grand Valley State University
Nate Peck Grand Valley State University
Robbie Young Grand Valley State University
Timothy Sayers Hillsdale College
Redley VonKurt Kutztown University
Ryan Blood Lock Haven University
Christopher Edelman Lock Haven University
Benjamin McConnell Lock Haven University
Cory Spidell Lock Haven University
Shawn Wilkinson Lock Haven University
Chris Cummings Mansfield University
Bryan Falcone Mansfield University
Dave Sanford Mansfield University
Quirk Denis Millersville University
James Krajsa Minnesota State University, Mankato
Jeffrey Lombardo Minnesota State University, Mankato
Nathan Pieper Minnesota State University, Mankato
Heath Groom Missouri University of Science & Technology
Jordan Henry Missouri University of Science & Technology
Jake Hamik Northern State University
Greg Hamm Northwest Nazarene University
Josh Heidegger Northwest Nazarene University
Michael Beeler Pittsburg State University
Noah Dumpert Pittsburg State University
Ethan Hobbs Pittsburg State University
Alex Kuhlman Pittsburg State University
Tony McDaniel Saginaw Valley State University
Adam Roach Saginaw Valley State University
Jeremiah Tworek Saint Joseph’s College
Nathan Hardic Slippery Rock University
Patrick Reagan Slippery Rock University
Michael Rose Slippery Rock University
Jimmy Schneider Slippery Rock University
Jeff Weiss Slippery Rock University
Kyle Cameron Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Erik Johnson Southwest Baptist University
Michael Pierce Southwest Baptist University
Abel Garcia Texas A&M University – Kingsville
Isaac Saldivar Texas A&M University – Kingsville
Thomas Buxton Tiffin University
Jeremy Lee Tiffin University
Keith Reiter Tiffin University
David Kiplagat University of Alaska Anchorage
Jaban Moore University of Central Missouri
A. J. Roth University of Central Missouri
James Eric University of Findlay
Matt Neff University of Mary
Josh Obrigewitch University of Mary
Kurt Rettig University of Mary
Sam Bastien University of Massachusetts at Lowell
Steven DeWitt University of Massachusetts at Lowell
Joseph DeWitt University of Massachusetts at Lowell
Ruben Sanca University of Massachusetts at Lowell
Jared Clementson University of Minnesota Duluth
Chris Campbell University of Nebraska at Kearney
Brandon Karlin University of Nebraska at Kearney
Andrew Smith University of Nebraska at Kearney
Seth Yount University of Nebraska at Kearney
Robert Roads University of Southern Indiana
Shane Neal West Chester University
Scott Dahlberg Western State College of Colorado
Tyler Pennel Western State College of Colorado
Keith Lemay Western Washington University
Jordan Welling Western Washington University
Daniel Greaves Wheeling Jesuit University
Andre Walcott Wheeling Jesuit University